Dell XPS 13
Redesigned body, same great laptop.
Dell recently refreshed its XPS 13 lineup, bringing a chassis redesign alongside some new hardware. There are plenty of configurations, but for about $1,400 you can get an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor (CPU), 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). The 13.3-inch 1080p display has almost no bezel at all, causing the entire thing to look more like an 11-inch device. Whether you’re looking for a laptop to suit a casual or professional setting, this is it.
Bottom line: The Dell XPS 13 is our pick for best laptop in this price range.
One more thing: Have a look at our review for much more information.
Why the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop between $1,000 and $1,500
The Ultrabook market has been heating up during the last couple of years, and Dell’s refresh of its XPS 13 is aimed at staying a step ahead of the competition. The 9370 model has slightly smaller bezels around the 13.3-inch display (available in 1080p or 4K), you can choose new colors for the chassis, new thermals inside make for better heat management, and the IR camera for Windows Hello has been moved to the middle of the chassis (though it’s still below the display).
Ports have also been changed up a bit. You’re getting two Thunderbolt 3 with 4x PCIe lanes each, USB-C 3.1, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. These are certainly future-proof and aren’t all jammed together despite the XPS 13’s size.
Dell offers a lot of configuration and customization options that should let you find your laptop within this price range. Mix and match 8th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, 8GB and 16GB of RAM, and SSD size, and get the same all-day battery no matter what you checkout with.
HP Spectre 13t
For a laptop that looks like a million bucks but sits comfortably in this price range, check out HP’s Spectre 13t. This notebook has a 13.3-inch display with almost no bezel, a future-proof selection of ports, and plenty of configuration options. Grab an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 4K touch display for about $1,419. Mix and match how you want, but that’s a lot of PC.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Anyone interested in a laptop that can easily double as a tablet should check out the Surface Pro. It has a 12.3-inch touch display with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, and it’s compatible with the Surface Pen. There are a lot of configurations available ― including those with LTE connectivity ― but for about $1,300 you can get a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and 8GB of RAM. Toss in a Type Cover for about $160, and you’re still within the price range.
Lenovo Legion Y720
Lenovo’s Legion Y720 is just starting to show its age, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. The 15.6-inch 1080p display shows off graphics driven by an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and the RGB keyboard is customizable to show some style. As for hardware, grab a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD) paired with a 256GB SSD, all for about $1,500. It might not be the thinnest, but this is a lot of PC for the price.
Best for students:
Microsoft Surface Laptop
Coming in at the lower end of the price range is the Surface Laptop, an ideal notebook for pretty much any student. Battery life easily gets through a full day of classes, the 13.5-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and unique 2,256 x 1,504 resolution, and it’s even compatible with the Surface Pen. For about $1,100, you get a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, which will easily handle a day’s homework.
HP Spectre x360
HP’s premier convertible laptop has recently been refreshed, bringing among other things an optional 4K display, improved thermals, and thinner bezels. It’s still a knockout device that can be used in tent, stand, or tablet modes when not used as a notebook, and it has the power and battery to handle a day’s work. You can mix and match hardware, but for about $1,430, you get an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Toss in the 13.3-inch 1080p WLED display option, and you have one sweet package.
Samsung Notebook 9 15
Samsung’s laptops are usually underrated, but the 15-inch Notebook 9 is making a name for itself. It’s thin, light, and has the hardware inside to make it a multipurpose machine. The upper-end configuration starts at about $1,435 and includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA MX150 GPU with enough graphical power for you to enjoy some popular games in your downtime. It has an all-day battery and the 15-inch display is one of the nicest around, set at 1080p.
LG gram 15Z980
LG’s refreshed gram 15Z980 is probably on the radar of anyone who likes their laptops thin. It has a 15.6-inch touch display, yet it weighs just 2.41 pounds and is 0.7 inches thick. Despite the size, the battery lasts upwards of 12 hours from a charge, and it has the power to cut through a usual day’s tasks. For about $1,050, you can grab a configuration with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SATA SSD.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a perennial favorite, thanks to smart updates and an all-around attractive design. Its carbon-fiber chassis is durable despite weighing just 2.49 pounds, and there are a bunch of configuration options that sit within this price range. You can customize, but as a starting point you get an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8350U vPro CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch FHD display for about $1,450. If you’re looking for the same type of laptop with a convertible design, check out the X1 Yoga.
There are plenty of laptops from different manufacturers that sit in this price range sweet-spot, but the Dell XPS 13 is our pick as the best overall for most people. Be sure to have a look at the rest of our choices, as you might be surprised with what you find.
Dell XPS 13
Redesigned body, same great laptop.
Updated May 17, 2018: We refreshed this list with the latest information about the best laptops within this price range.